SITAONAIR has issued a white paper on connected aircraft entitled “Open platforms: the next inflight connectivity revolution”.
Its says the inflight connectivity revolution is well advanced, with airlines investing heavily in the latest satellite broadband and connectivity technologies.
Three-quarters of the world’s airlines expect to implement Wi-Fi services on at least some of their aircraft by the end of 2017, feeding passenger demand for connectivity products and services that meet the aspirations of millennial travellers.
By 2020, an estimated 12,500 planes – half the entire global fleet – will be connected aircraft.
This revolution for passengers will enable them to transfer their entire digital lives seamlessly from the ground to the connected aircraft in the air. But as the revolution continues it says it believes it’s time for airlines to take the next step forward.
SITAONAIR argues that current operational limitations across platforms, technologies, fleets and service providers make integration, innovation and unifying the passenger portfolio and experience, complex, time-consuming, and expensive for airlines.
It says single-technology, closed systems for the connected aircraft will give rise to open architecture, just as they did in the mobile telephony world. Open architecture, and common service provision, gives airlines this choice and allows them to make passenger connectivity part of the airline brand rather than a lock-in to a supplier’s refresh cycle.
At the heart of this is the ability to also interface with an airline’s own operating and marketing systems, allowing real-time, branded personalisation through passenger activity monitoring and CRM integration, including frequent flyer programme promotions.
From this, it says the opportunities can be further extended to passenger monetisation – including inflight retail sales, real-time credit card verification and third-party sponsorship and advertising, through to community development and gamification.
This allows airlines to emulate the possibilities they are already exploiting so successfully on the ground.